By Stewart Weir
This Saturday will forever be remembered for what became the Miracle of Muamba.
I was watching the Spurs–Bolton cup tie but thought Fabrice Muamba had suffered an injury and concentrated for a moment on the England–Ireland rugby.
But it was quickly evident that things were critical, dare I say pessimistic, with the unwelcome comments of a few broadcasters. It was good to see and hear John Barnes bring reality and caution to proceedings by saying that people do often survive on such occasions.
Muamba was one of the lucky ones, due entirely to the quick intervention, skill and dedication of the medical people around him.
It doesn’t always have a happy ending. A mate of mine, a five-a-sides during the week, Sunday football player, collapsed and died from some convoluted medical condition that I could rhyme off once upon a time.
That was 17 years ago. And it still happens.
There was no miracle in Rome where Scotland finished their atrocious Six Nations campaign by collecting the wooden spoon.
Coach Andy Robinson has a dedicated bunch of players around him, many of whom were stepping forward to take the blame for drawing a blank in the championship.
All very honourable. Yup, it is you and your team-mates who make the wrong decisions, make the wrong calls, drop the ball and get sin-binned. But ultimately it is Andy Robinson who picks you.
And I repeat again: would Andy Robinson have survived this long in football? I think not …
Couldn’t quite work out Ian Payne’s logic behind not reading out the winner of the Australian Grand Prix because BBC TV were showing the highlights.
OK, he might be cheesed off that his one-time employers have the exclusive rights to F1 – but if he had maintained his thinking, neither would he have read out the Hearts–Hibs score, when the highlights were to be shown in Scotland that evening.
Or did that not count? Thinking about it, if BBC Sport didn’t broadcast the results of sports they only showed the highlights of, sports bulletins and programmes would last about five minutes … per day.
There are some stories that has something for everyone, and details of the Olympic Flame for the London 2012 Games certainly had that, from the 8,000 local heroes and runners who would carry the flame, to how trains, planes, boats and training shoes would play their part on the marathon journey, right down to 95 per cent of the population being within an hour’s travel of the flame.
That last stat prompts a question: why not just have a series of gigantic fires that everyone can see?
The Olympic Flame is, of course, lit by the rays of the sun (except when the old torches used to go out and had to be reignited by means of the match god, Swan Vestas). That is probably the most famous flame story, although torch failure in years gone by did result in several nasty incidents for carriers.
So if you are one of the 8,000, maybe check your insurance policies just in case …
But this is the London Olympiad, and there wouldn’t be an announcement without a decent follow-up tale. And around the Olympic Flame, that means Olympic torchbearers having to pay if they want the ultimate souvenir from their relay appearance, namely their own torch.
From this week until 1 May, it will cost bearers £199 to buy a torch from Games organisers LOCOG, and during the relay the cost rises to £215. But LOCOG defended the cost, saying each torch costs £495 to make.
£199 is a lot of money; £495 suggests there is a bit of marking-up going on. Of course the true value won’t really be known until the first one appears on eBay …
Eyes and ears were in a state or readiness for the revelations that Channel 4 correspondent Alex Thomson had promised about the saga that has become Rangers.
He had publicised his pending works on his blog, something that others had referred to through social media outlets – although I got the feeling that, of his new followers, a great many had a slightly green hue to their view of things.
So I – like others who probably see Channel 4 News by chance or accident – tuned in to see Thomson’s “special report”.
The introduction certainly set the scene: “…but under its previous owner, this programme can reveal allegations of secret payments going back over many years. A former director of the club has told Channel 4 News that such payments were ‘standard practice.’”
From that one sentence, I deduced the only revelation would be that someone at Channel 4 News could read three-week-old papers.
There was nothing new. It was a rehash of what the Daily Mail had weeks prior to this “must see” special report. Channel 4 did have former Rangers director Hugh Adam on camera, who said all the things Thomson wanted him to say thanks to some prompting and some slightly leading questions.
But was there a smoking gun, or documentary evidence from Mr Adam – who resigned as a director a decade ago – to back up his claims? No.
Indeed, Mr Adam did not look a well man, and one suspects that someone else asking different questions – be it a journalist or defence counsel – would have got some very different answers.
Perhaps the real barometer when it came to gauging just how “revealing” the special report had been came in the levels of silence from those who had, in the days leading up to Thomson’s report, promised fireworks.
Hard to tweet about damp squibs …
And boxer Scott Harrison’s planned comeback fight next weekend has been cancelled following his arrest for alleged shoplifting from a Glasgow supermarket.
The former WBO world featherweight champion was due to fight for the first time in seven years in Blackpool. But Harrison’s career appears to have been put on hold again after his manager Frank Maloney says he has decided to drop the boxer from his stable.
Harrison’s plight is a sad one. And you can’t help but think that unless either he, or someone else, gets to grips with his demons, there will be an inevitable and upsetting outcome.
So the non-Old Firm teams want a bigger slice of the action when it comes to the SPL’s TV money – which, we are now told, is dependent upon Rangers being part of the top league. Well, we guessed that weeks ago, Alex Thomson, just in case you think you had an exclusive all to yourself.
Celtic’s Peter Lawwell came out all guns blazing. But it was the grenade he rolled under the door that might have the most effect on the “rebel” clubs, or the Gang of Ten.
Lawwell’s suggestion of backing a 14-team top tier has one or two suddenly weighing up fighting for an increase on TV revenues against self-preservation as a club in a bigger SPL.
Tactical brilliance by Lawwell, I don’t mind admitting. Let’s see how long the Gang of Ten stays that big …
There are pictures, column inches and airwaves crammed full with Team GB’s all-new signing, dancing, running, jumping, swimming, huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ Olympic kit, designed by Stella McCartney.
Many don’t like it, saying there isn’t enough red and thinking that it’s just too blue. I have to agree.
Others see it as unique, exclusive and pure genius. And I have to disagree. Only because I’ve seen it before.
As you can see from the photo accompanying this article, fans of 1860 Munich have long worn or waved a similar design.
So for all of those who see the Team GB kit as unique, exclusive and pure genius, there will be some who see it as repeated, copied or even plagiarised.
I, of course, see it as being entirely coincidental (if only because Stella’s da’ has more money than me …).
– Tweet Stewart Weir with thoughts and comments, @sweirz